The Buena Vista Social Club Presents Omara Portuondo (World Circuit/Nonesuch)

The Buena Vista Social Club Presents Omara Portuondo (World Circuit/Nonesuch)

Record Reviews

The Buena Vista Social Club

Presents Omara Portuondo

(World Circuit/Nonesuch)

Buena Vista Social Club the album, Buena Vista Social Club the spinoffs (Rubén González, Compay Segundo, Ibrahim Ferrer, Eliades Ochoa), Buena Vista Social Club the movie: Buena Vista Social Club -- the franchise. Just when you thought it safe to swim back to Miami, along comes another romantic Cuban balladeer from the city's golden age of nightclubs to entice you back to the crumbling island paradise. Omara Portuondo, queen and sole female in the Buena Vista Boys Club, may be the last of the concern's main vocalists to release a solo bow, but hers is perhaps the best of the series -- certainly the most commercial -- as rich, warm, and endearing as Introducing... Rubén González, only with vocals. González weaves his magical piano work throughout Omara Portuondo, with Segundo, Ferrer, and Ochoa all making cameos, but it's a musical tapestry provided by four violas, five trumpets, six saxophones, and nine violins that lends the album an enchanting, late-night intimacy. Portuondo's deep, succulent voice enriches every word, whisper, and moan, five of the album's 11 cuts being Boleros, including the Gershwins' "The Man I Love." Immortal Cuban composer Arsenio Rodriguez's "No me LLores Más," with crooner Ibrahim Ferrer, and the loving "Ella y Yo," a duet with solo album hopeful Pío Leyva, in particular reach back into your corner booth under the palms with loving caresses. Omara Portuondo, Buena Vista Social Club the beautiful.

***.5

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